PROVO — The championship Brigham Young University Ballroom Dance Company recently returned from a three-week performing tour in China, including an invitation to participate in the Olympic Cultural Festival, an international celebration prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The BYU dancers, who developed a relationship with the Chinese Performing Arts Agency following their original tour of China in 1984, are frequently shown on China Central television. "BYU, in fact, is the best-known American university in China because the ballroom dancers and other university-affiliated performing groups appear so frequently on Chinese television," noted Ed Blaser, director of performing arts management at the school.

Such a long-standing relationship has resulted in numerous invitations to participate in Chinese dance festivals and other events throughout the country. Among the most notable invitations is participation in the Cultural Olympiad, a four-year cycle of events showcasing the arts and culture of China and required as a part of the Olympic Games hosting commitment.

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